Nature reserve saved from serious flooding
Following six months of careful planning, Ground Control successfully removed a large Salix tree that had snapped into the river Stort at the RSPB’s Rye Meads nature reserve. We were initially notified of the incident by Paul Norman, Area Process Manager at Rye Meads, who raised concerns that the tree could cause a natural dam in the river.
To make matters worse, a regional railway line was in danger of being closed due to a risk of flooding with further risks to the locality if the tree was not removed. A triple High Voltage (HV) cable also ran parallel to the river, meaning the fallen tree had landed between two extremely high risk hazards.
Marc Wilkinson, Regional Operations Manager, was tasked with the difficult job of assessing the situation earlier this year and immediately identified the need of an electricity shutdown;
“This was a unique job given the multiple dangers surrounding the tree. With the need to act quickly to prevent flooding, we also had to ensure the safety of all those involved so we worked closely with our HSQE team and Gary Summerfield [Health & Safety Manager Utility Arb] to perfect the Method Statement and Risk Assessment to ensure the operation was carried out as safely as possible.”
The project involved months of careful planning as we worked in collaboration with UK Power Networks to produce a safe and efficient scope of works. From identifying shutdown dates and producing crane lifting plans, to finally laying down the track ways to provide safe access routes, it was imperative that all members worked together to complete a safe project.
On the day of operation, our team worked to sling the tree safely with a huge importance on effective communication between our operatives and the crane slinger. The tree was cut free and lifted clear over the canopy on the riverbank and HV cables that were shutdown prior to works taking place. The cuttings were laid onto flat land where they were cross cut, logged and chipped. Four further lifts were required to remove large limbs that had snapped out when the tree originally fell.
The final smaller limbs left in the river were removed by Ground Control operatives who were boomed out to the work area over the river while harnessed in a MEWP platform.
Marc praised the team who engaged in this challenging task;
“The teams all worked together to carry out a safe and successful project. It was essential that we had clear communication throughout and we have prevented the closer of a regional railway line while also saving the local area from potential flooding. It’s always satisfying to know that we really do make a difference in what we do.”
Of the many members involved in this project, Marc took time out to highlight the incredible efforts put in by Tag Trees;
“This project was a success thanks to the hard work, dedication and professionalism put in by our teams on the ground. Members from Tag Trees in particular were exemplary in their actions. A fantastic effort from all involved.”